We were due to do a shoot yesterday but a few days ago we received an unexpected wedding invitation from an old friend that I had not been in touch much with for a while. 19 years ago he was best man at our wedding.
That wedding had thrown him a little as it was the first time he had been best man. He is an Indian raised in Kenya as a Sikh and we were at University together. He taught me to cook Indian style. I married the Vicar’s daughter and the Vicar wanted to give his daughter away so he asked a friend who was a curate at a nearby town to conduct the ceremony. The friend was also Indian. As the wedding took place in the Church opposite the Vicarage, we did not bother with a wedding car and nor did we go for the then common trend of top-hat-and-tails. The local parishioners of the small Derbyshire village were confused by the whole thing.
This new wedding took place in a decent hotel near Barnsley (up North) in South Yorkshire. It was not his first marriage (the wedding for which had been a huge affair last many hours – so much for that). There was a ceremony in the hotel with the local deputy registrar. The couple had a number of poems (pretty deep meaningful ones – which means I cannot remember them) read our before doing their vows.
Most striking was the additional vows the couple made to each other. I was moved. Rarely have I heard such works spoken with such openness, frankness and strong emotion between two people in public. I turned to my wife and said "what he said" and she, with a tear in her eye, responded "similar".
Similar! I have ribbed her pretty much daily since then for her failure to say either "what she said" or "ditto" and keep asking for details on the differences.
We had a great Indian meal afterwards, lots of chat, speeches, dancing (well, I didn’t, knee still not good enough for that). More food later and more dancing. Thank goodness we had booked into a nearby Holiday Inn (on points of course).
His mother remembered me rather better than I did her. She told me that I had changed a lot through. She also pointed out that as she had taught her son to cook and he in turn me then really I had her to thank for my Indian cooking abilities.
My friend has developed a keen interest in photography as well but for many years has been a wedding photographer, working alongside a small team (they work on BIG weddings). It was very funny during this wedding seeing him frustrated at the way the other photographers were doing things and he did eventually get up and organise people for particular shots. He even threatened to go and get his own camera on a few occasions. There was an aspect to this though that I found somewhat sad. There were points during the day, such as the cutting of the wedding cake, the showing of the rings, etc. where a huge amount of effort was put into getting the right photos with my friend going to extraordinary lengths to make sure the right scenes were setup and captured. I felt that at times getting the picture was more important than the even being recorded. I found that sad.